Monday, March 15, 2010

Entrepreneurial cities

Sorry for the lack of posting... real life has been very busy.  I've been meaning to post something about City Hall East getting a new buyer, but can't seem to find the words.  Jamestown has been involved with the White Provisions project, among the other major projects mentioned in the AJC.  Hopefully they'll be able to get something done with the building.  I'm not sure what else there is to say about the decline of Emory Morsberger's dream, other than I'm a bit surprised it took this long.

In other news, I'm much more interested in this post on CEOs for Cities and the accompanying PDF about entrepreneurial cities.  The policy brief is from the same Edward Glaeser I linked in my last post, and makes some interesting points:

(1) Investing too much in attracting large, mature firms may not be good policy.
(2) There is little reason to have much faith in the ability of local governments to play venture capitalist. The best role for government is simply to encourage competition among local banks and financiers.
(3) There is much to be said for the strategy of focusing on the quality of life policies that can attract smart, entrepreneurial people.  The best economic development strategy may be to attract smart people and get out of their way.
(4) Good universities have faculty members who are involved in local start-ups and train students who may become entrepreneurs and the employees of entrepreneurs.  Imposing costs that restrict the growth of such institutions can be cost
My opinion generally is that cities and metro regions should focus on providing quality core services.  I'm not ideologically opposed to government doing other things, but the fundamental job of city government is to keep people safe and to ensure that the city's physical infrastructure meets its population's needs.  I would include education in the "infrastructure" category along with the traditional sewers, water supply, streets, etc.

So I'm basically reiterating my skepticism of pursuing tourist attractions and big businesses.  Atlanta is already good at attracting young, educated folks.  If we can focus on quality of life, basic services, and education.  Create real communities that can attract and encourage entrepreneurs.

1 comment:

  1. Make sure Atlanta is a great place to live and and great place to do business. I don't think we win unless we sell the whole region.

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